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Graeme, “The man” at the World Challenge

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Much like Tiger Woods did at last year’s World Challenge, Graeme McDowell snapped a two-year victory drought at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday as he carded a final-round 68 for a tournament total of 17-under 271. McDowell edged out fellow competitor Keegan Bradley by three strokes for the win, with players using ball-in-hand for the fourth straight day due to soggy conditions.

McDowell’s last worldwide victory came in 2010 at the World Challenge, where he defeated Woods in a playoff to conclude a career year. With the victory, McDowell becomes just the third player to win the event on multiple occasions, joining host Woods (5) and Davis Love III (2). The setting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., seems to meet the Northern Irishman’s eye, as McDowell has never shot a round of par or worse in the event and 10 of his 12 career rounds at the tournament have been in the 60s. McDowell joined Bradley as the only other player to shoot four rounds in the 60s this week.

Woods began the day at 8-under par and five shots off McDowell’s lead, but made the turn in 1-over to see any hopes of a rally diminish. Woods recorded a birdie and an eagle on Nos. 13 and 16, respectively, before closing the tournament with a bogey on the last. Woods’ 9-under finish placed him in a tie for fourth, just his third time in 12 appearances that he’s placed outside the top two.

Bradley began the day as McDowell’s nearest opposition, sitting just two shots back at 11-under. Both players birdied the par-5 2nd hole, then Bradley inched to within one shot after another birdie on the par-5 5th hole. However, that served as McDowell’s slimmest margin, as Bradley closed the front nine with back-to-back bogies on Nos. 8 and 9.

McDowell stretched his cushion to four shots over Bradley thanks to birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, but the advantage would be short-lived. Two holes later, Bradley cut the deficit in half with a birdie on the par-5 13th, while McDowell carded just his third bogey of the rain-soaked week thanks to a wayward drive.

Both players took advantage on their next par-5 opportunity at No. 16, as each carded a birdie four to leave McDowell with a two-shot lead with two to play. After a pair of pars on the par-3 17th, McDowell finished the round in fashion by converting a birdie from inside of 10 feet at the final hole.

Many players made a run into double-figures late in the afternoon, but the efforts were too little too late. Bo Van Pelt finished in solo third at 10-under, but could have had a much more effective finish on Sunday. Van Pelt shot out of the gates with birdies on the first two holes, but gave shots back with bogeys on Nos. 4 and 9 to turn in even-par. He then strung together three-straight birdies on hole Nos. 11-13 and added one more on No. 16 to reach 12-under. Van Pelt closed with a double-bogey on the final hole for his 10-under finish.

Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk also reached 10-under for the tournament, but each closed with bogey on the final hole to finish tied with Woods for fourth place. Fowler perhaps had the most up and down week, displayed in his first two holes on Sunday alone. Fowler holed out for an eagle two at No. 1, followed by a bogey on No. 2. On the week, Fowler carded 17 birdies and two eagles, but also threw in five bogies, two double-bogies and a triple-bogey.

Webb Simpson (-7), Steve Stricker (-6), Hunter Mahan (-5) and Bubba Watson (-5) rounded out the top 10 at the tournament. Mahan carded a final-round 68, matching McDowell for the low round of the day. McDowell also owned the low round of the tournament, a 66 coming on Friday.

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GolfWRX fan turned GolfWRX contributor. Sports fan, golf enthusiast. Looking to provide a variety of content to GolfWRX.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. sean_miller

    Dec 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    So his “official” winless streak continues – like Tiger’s did.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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